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Jo-Anne Rolf, Vintage Designs

Jo-Anne Rolf is a Riverina based Milliner with a totally unique outlook when crating her headpieces and lives happily in her dream world of more a romantic era.

“These days, a hat is not an everyday purchase, so I really enjoy creating something that is both elegant and desirable and made in the old fashioned way. I find the whole millinery process totally consuming. It is a complete love affair with vintage materials, old style millinery processes and relearning techniques that would otherwise be lost in this day and age”.

Jo has been a recent recipient of Awards in both Millinery and Textiles as well a s Hat Life Hatty Award in 2012. As part of the 2011 Melbourne Cup Celebrations, Jo was invited to create one of her beautiful Victorian Riding Hats for the prestigious national Gallery of Australia to sit alongside their own Philip Treacy Retrospective.

Also a supporter of the Creative Arts, Jo collaborates in High Fashion photos shoots and films with Melbourne Stylist, Lynette Pater and is an Associate producer of the Sci-Fi “Queen of the Bees” an independent Space Tourist Film from Melbourne.

 

Recently a Tutor at the International Millinery Forum 2014 in Wagga Wagga, Jo continues to teach and lecture on the finer points of Vintage Milliner at Vintage Fairs and Shows.

Jo lives and works in rural Australia.

Q

What lead you to Millinery in 2006 and what was your previous occupation?

A

I have a background in Hospitality and worked in the hotel restaurant Industry in Melbourne, then later as a lavender farmer in NSW making Essential Oil and skin products. It was the combination of the drought and another child leaving home that enabled me to focus on something that had interested me for a long time, which was “How to make a hat?”.

Q

Has the fondness of childhood memories cultivated your career to inspire you?

A

I have always been fascinated wit the mysteries and wonders surrounding old stuff. Old wooden table tops worn smooth from use, biscuit tins filled with my Nan's Patty Pan cakes, my Aunties hand me down books from their childhood, music from the 1930 and 40s courtesy of my Father and old family snapshots in black and white. All that and more, I am still collecting memorabilia.

Q

Vintage is your trademark, is it the precision of old school methods you love or just the overall aspect?

A.

Vintage Millinery Techniques is my main interest. In this age of technology I love the idea of using my hands to create something beautiful. It is a yearning to return to the old techniques of Millinery. To learn those aspects and keep them alive, to create a hat from scratch, to follow directions from an old pattern book and to master that medium is very satisfying.

Q

Vintage can be tricky not to look dated, how do you keep your looks Vintage yet so clean and tailored?

A

To make a new hat today and make it look as if it came from a particular moment in time and your Nan's closet is a complex process. It is a combination of understanding of European, American and Australian history and social customs of the time realising it is not just a fashion template but rather a snapshot of the past.

I am also a great believer in letting the hat shape of that time or genre, speak for itself, that “less is best” when it comes to trimming and I am more inclined to remove something rather than add it on. It has been a massive learning curve and eight years down the track I am still studying. The more I learn the more I realise that I have so much more to discover.

Q

Were your dreams growing up always related to fashion?

A

I think it was my dream to be a Princess, maybe Sleeping Beauty and wear ball gowns and tiaras, even a breakfast. I studied art history at school and my interests continued to grow to encompass my 100 year old farm house full of books, music from the 1030s, old hats and clothes.

Q

Who are your icons and why?

A

Love Schiaparelli from the late 20s through to the early 50s and Christian Dior of the 40s and 50s for so many reasons..... style, grace, imagination and innovation. This was such an amazing time in history for fashion as we know it today. I also love Stephen Jones and John Galliano for those exact same reasons.

Q

What is your creative process in making hats, do you start with sketching?? Do you have something in mind or does it create itself. What are your favourite shapes, trims etc?

A

I love working with other creative people, working to a specific brief and bringing an idea to its final conclusion. I find it difficult to create anything without a specific purpose in mind. My ideas are continually bouncing around in my head so I also like to follow my own heart and create iconic classic shapes from all the eras from 1840 through to 1960. Sometimes my ideas take a little time to gel in my mind to the point where I can tackle a project and create it from scratch, especially when learning a specific vintage shape such as an 1840s bonnet or a Wellington Top Hat.

Q

You are a huge supporter of the Burlesque community, please give us insight into the culture and how hats have such an important role.

A

I am currently a supporter of Miss Pinup Australia, a national competition which inspires women of all ages and sizes to celebrate their inner beauty through their love of vintage glamour. The issue of building self esteem is a very important one for me as there are so many negative stereotypes prevailing for women today, especially within social media. Hats do feature quite a lot in this genre as in original times, the wearing of headwear for day wear and social occasions was the norm.

Q

Who do you love to see wearing your hats?

My clients appreciate the classic lines and my headwear. They know how to rock a particular vintage style and I love tat they can wear my designs with such panache. I am always thrilled to death when they send me a pic of themselves wearing their Vintage Design Creation.

Click Here to be directed to Jo-Anne Rolf, Vintage Designs

 
Felicity Northeast Millinery More to come

 
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